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Meaning of ‘Bad’ by ‘Wale’ feat. Rihanna

Released: 2013Features: Rihanna”Bad” by Wale, featuring Rihanna, is a deep dive into the complexities of modern relationships. It eloquently captures the essence of a woman owning her sexuality, while asserting her independence and control over her love life. The blend of self-assertion and brutal honesty gives the song its unique appeal.

The song opens with Rihanna reflecting the persona that she embodies – a “bad girl”. She admits never having made love, but is assertive of her sexual prowess. She does not promise to be good, alluding to her non-commitment issues and a potential to cause emotional hurt. When she says she’ll be “good in bed, but bad to you,” she’s expressing her inherent dichotomy of being a sexual partner but not necessarily a loving one.

Wale’s verse offers a male perspective on the same paradigm. He encapsulates a concept prevalent in hip-hop culture – that ‘bad girls’ attract ‘real niggas’, but these relationships are often far from ideal. He discusses engaging with a woman who is enamored by the ‘king’ but is not kingship herself, bringing out the delusions and disparities in expectations.

Further driving home the point, Wale interprets how labels like ‘bad’ and ‘good’ are often misleading. His reference to “game, Wale got the league pass” says that he has seen and experienced various aspects of relationships and hence, isn’t easily fooled. His words, “the bad girls always unapologetic,” reflect how these women are bold and unashamed of their actions.

The verse “She hurt feelings, she ain’t wrong, She work hard, she play harder” references the kind of independent, assertive, and unapologetic woman the song aims to highlight. Wale mentions that she does not bother with emotional attachments and is more focused on her interests. The line, “She no saint, ‘cept Saint Laurent,” cleverly plays with the concept of moral righteousness and high fashion – reflecting the woman’s preference for material satisfaction over emotional commitment.

Lastly, the lyrics “‘Cause I’ve had some issues” reveal a sense of emotional baggage and past hurt which might be why these characters are reluctant to commit in relationships. They choose to focus on physicality, perhaps as a shield from potential heartache. This narrative explores the multi-faceted human approach towards love, commitment and carnality in the modern era.

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